1 John 4:8 (ESV)
Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
(This is part 14 of our study on ‘Who is God‘)
God is Love. This is the Big One. This is the one everyone wants to quote, and wants to believe about God.
But what does it really mean?
It means that God is love! Love is defined by God – because He is Love. It means that love first comes from God. To better understand it, 1 John 4:7-21 is a good place to start (I will just quote up to verse 10 here).
1 John 4:7-10 (ESV)
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
God loves you.
Not because you choose to love God. Not because you are necessarily loveable. Not because you are good, or because you do good things. Not because you are holy, or because you always try your best (or at least sometimes do).
God loves you.
Despite your sin. Despite your rebellion. Despite all of the wrong things you have said and are yet to say. Despite all of your offences against God.
God loves you. Unconditionally. That means that there are no conditions to Gods love – He simply loves you.
And because God loves you, you should respond to Him in some way.
And because God loves you, you should do your best to love others, just as God has loved you. Not because they are good. Not avoiding love because they are bad. But you should love others because God loved you.
So it really is that simple – God loves you. Take some time to think about it, despite the difficulty. Not just rejoicing in the fact that God does love, but that He is love. And He loves you not because of anything you have done, are doing or will do – but because of who you are.
That is a truly revolutionary thought – there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, or less. So stop striving for the unreachable, but take comfort knowing His love is unconditional.
John 3:16 (ESV)
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”